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Re: [ontolog-forum] Two ontologies that are inconsistent but bothneeded

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Bill Andersen <andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 17:21:52 -0400
Message-id: <5C352E88-A882-42B4-A956-FA1F2B939FE5@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

I believe you're confusing the metaphysical distinction, which Barry is trying to make, with a semantic one.  That there can be two different semantic interpretations of the word 'avalanche' is not surprising.  


On Jun 10, 2007, at 14:56 , Waclaw Kusnierczyk wrote:

Chris Partridge wrote:

Avalanche theory is based on the distinction
between granular layers (continuants) and flows
(which when summed together make the avalanches themselves).

So, waves are continuants and avalanches occurrents? Or slightly more
accurately, there are wave continuants and wave-life occurrents, whereas
there are only avalanche(-life) occurrents (i.e. there are no avalanche
continuants) - as flows and flow-sums are occurrents. Have I understood your
position correctly?

I think the question of whether an avalanche is a continuant or an 
occurrent is ill-posed, in the sense that we need first a meta-statement 
about the term 'avalanche'.  One you accept the distinction between 
continuants and occurrents (and why not), an avalanche is a continuant 
or an occurrent -- depending on what 'avalanche' means to you.

If 'avalanche' is taken to mean the sliding down of large masses of 
stuff (snow, ice, mud), then an avalanche, in this sense, is an occurrent.

If 'avalanche' is taken to mean a large mass of stuff (...) that slides 
down, then an avalanche, in this sense, is a continuant.

The term 'avalanche' has a number of meanings, including those two 
above, and the actual meaning varies from context to context.  (Ingvar, 
what would be the sentence meaning of 'an avalanche was observed', as 
opposed to its many used sentence meanings?)

If you looked at how 'avalanche' is defined in the dictionaries 
accessible through onelook (www.onelook.com), for example, you'd find:

"a rapid downhill *flow* of a large mass of something"
"a sudden overwhelming *quantity* of something"
"a *mass* of snow and ice falling rapidly down"
"a large *mass* of snow, ice, earth, rock, or other material in swift 
"a sudden great or overwhelming *rush* or accumulation of something"


What is interesting in some of those definitions, is that some of them 
that consider an avalanche a continuant, do not actually allow to think 
of an avalanche (a continuant) *at* a time -- an avalanche is a mass in 
motion, and there is no motion *at* an instant.



Bill Andersen (andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)

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